Two days, 11 hacks: A recap of the NHS Staff Access Hackathon

Last Tuesday, we wrapped up a two-day hackathon focusing on the role of verifiable credentials in digital staff access and other innovations across the healthcare space. The event was organized by INTEROPen and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), with Evernym providing technical support through training workshops, developer office hours, free access to Verity, Connect.Me, and a curated developer toolkit.

The hackathon drew in observers and developers from around the world and culminated in demo presentations of 11 solutions built within the event’s 48-hour span. It also represented a new chapter for verifiable credentials, where proofs-of-concept that would have taken weeks to develop a mere year ago can now be demonstrated in a matter of hours. It’s a goal that has been the driving force behind much of our work at Evernym, where we’ve been laser-focused on building developer-friendly tools and the world’s most advanced verifiable credential platform. And we’re very proud to say that each of the top five demos was built on top of Evernym technology. (For those interested, you can watch all of the demo presentations here, or you can read on for the five top entries.)

Commenting on the success of the event, Phil Graham, Digital Programme Director at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and board member at INTEROPen, remarked:

“The INTEROPen hackathon based on Verifiable Credentials proved to be very successful with all participants working together to create interoperable solutions. This will move the Identity and Access agenda forward greatly. The presentations were excellent and it was pleasing to see how the technologies can enable an enhanced user experience. We look forward to the next steps and building on this success. Thanks go to all the suppliers who helped to create the masterclasses, including Evernym, and to all the participants and facilitators for making the event such a success.”

Andy Tobin, Evernym’s European Director who helped organize the hackathon, added:

“We were really pleased with how quickly participants were able to start developing and creating innovative solutions. It shows how far the technology has come—that the sophisticated mechanisms that make digital verifiable credentials work can be used by developers within minutes. This really moves the focus of self-sovereign identity out of the lab and into the real world.”

And with that, here are the top five solutions demonstrated in this event:


The winning entry: Auto-provisioning access rights for collaborative banks

Auto-provisioning staff access rights using verifiable credentials

The bigger winners of the event were our partners at Condatis, who won the popular vote after their demonstration of an auto-provisioning solution for staff access rights. The solution builds on another hackathon project (see #5 on this list), which allows collaborative banks (staffing facilities within the NHS that allow organizations to share in-demand doctors and other medical staff on an as-needed basis) to more efficiently onboard employees and issue shift assignments as digital credentials.

Once a doctor has been assigned a shift, Condatis’ solution allows the organization to auto-provision the required access rights through issuing a system access credential. With this credential, the doctor can show up for their shift, immediately prove qualifications and access rights, and start working immediately. After the shift, access can be removed and a shift completion credential is then issued to the doctor.

The presenters named security and time/cost savings as the key benefits, and the solution was built on Evernym’s Verity and Connect.Me products, as well as Condatis’ recently-announced OIDC SSI Bridge.


First runner-up: Authentication into clinical systems

Clinical authentication using self-sovereign identity

In a close second, we had an innovative demo from Guy Whitmore and Luke Smith on the Clinical Systems team. This solution, which also leveraged Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge and Evernym’s Verity and Connect.Me, demonstrated how medical staff (particularly, locum GPs) can authenticate into hospital systems using digital credentials and digital wallets.

The team pointed to ease of use, security, and the automation of background checks as the primary benefits.


Second runner-up (tie): Credential portability across organizations

A demo showing the value of portable digital credentials

Next up, we had a demo from Jonathan Telfer showing how NHS-issued employment credentials can be used across organizations, eliminating the burden of identity re-verification.

This solution allows doctors and other staff to hold credentials in a digital wallet app and share with new employers or organizations within the NHS, or even to use to log into national applications.

The solution was built on Evernym’s Connect.Me and Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge, with Verity under the skin.


Second runner-up (tie): Verified digital prescriptions

Prescriptions as a verifiable credential within Connect.Me

Tying for third place, we had Emlyn Jones on the Medentials team demonstrate how doctors can issue prescriptions as verifiable credentials, which patients can then manage from their smart phones and share with their pharmacies.

A major benefit outlined in the presentation was the ability for patients to be able to maintain and share a controlled list of prescribed medications. The solution was built with Verity and Connect.Me, and can be found on GitHub.


Third runner-up: Staff onboarding and shift applications

Staff onboarding for NHS collaborative banks

Missing what would be a three-way tie for third place by a single vote comes our next solution: a credential-driven staff onboarding solution by the Sitekit team.

In this demo, doctors at a participating collaborative bank (shared staffing facility within the NHS) can receive an employment credential from Blackpool Teaching Hospital, which they can then use to apply for available shifts at nearby hospitals to show a verified record of their qualifications and work eligibility. Once accepted for a shift, the bank then issues the doctor with a shift assignment credential and (when combined with the winning hackathon entry) auto-provisioned staff access rights.

The solution uses Condatis’ OIDC SSI Bridge and Evernym’s Verity and Connect.Me. The presenters pointed to time/cost savings, reduced dependency on agency staff, and flexible staffing as primary benefits.


Feeling inspired?

If you’re as inspired by these solutions as we are and want to hack away at the tech, we invite you to create a free Sandbox account and browse our developer resources. You can also find all eight of the masterclasses presented at the NHS Hackathon on INTEROPen’s YouTube channel.

If you’d like to share what you’re working on, please do send us a note or tag @evernym on Twitter. We love seeing innovative solutions and might even showcase your project in a future post or webinar.